By John Ikani
Pressure have continued to mount on President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo to resign ahead of presidential elections.
Political experts in the east african country attribute the development to growing convictions that Farmaajo is becoming a saboteur instead of leading the country in the right direction.
Mohamed’s four-year term ended in February 2021 without a successor. Somalia’s Parliament was supposed to elect a new President on Feb. 8, but the exercise was delayed because new lawmakers were yet to be elected.
Fast forward to 2022, local newspaper Garowe reports that parliamentary electoral exercise in Somalia has literally stalled, following differences between Farmaajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, who are battling over the control of elections and security in the country.
According to the report, PM Roble and a host of federal member states leaders have been holed up in Mogadishu for the last three days where they are trying to find a quick solution to the stalled parliamentary elections.
The opposition accuses Farmaajo of rigging in his close allies into Parliament.
In a Twitter Space discussion hosted by Garowe Online, key speakers seemed to blame Farmaajo for the current impasse, with some calling for his immediate resignation. Sahan Research founder Matt Bryden said Farmaajo has technically failed to lead the country.
For Somalia to get back on track, he noted, Farmaajo should quit and face elections as a candidate like former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who are keen to beat him in upcoming elections.
“Former President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo must relinquish his claim to national leadership, accept his fate as a candidate just like other former presidents, allow the electoral exercise to go on as planned without undue influence,” said Bryden.
“We shouldn’t be talking about Commander-in-Chief. What Somalis should be talking about is convener-in-chief,” he added in a jibe directed to Farmaajo. The outgoing president has often been accused of derailing meetings between the Federal Member States and the Federal Government of Somalia.
Hassan Haji, a former federal MP also accused Farmaajo of being a divisive leader, adding that Somalia needs a leader of integrity and honesty for the sake of smooth operations. Further, he warned against the foreign influence of the elections.
“Somalia needs a leader with integrity, honesty, knowledgeable, unifier and not a divider,” he said. “For the last few years, Somalia has become a battleground of competing gulf countries which influenced the last general election.”
Qatar, which is at loggerheads with the United Arab Emirates over dominance in Somalia, has often been accused of meddling in the affairs of Somalia. However, the federal government has always denied the claims, while accusing opponents of divisive leadership.